The 2014 Lexus IS sedan comes in three distinct models -- IS250, IS350 and IS F-- the 250 and 350 are available in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while the IS F is rear-wheel drive only. The IS250 is powered by a 2.5L V6 producing 204 hp and 185 ft-lb of torque, while the IS350 benefits from a larger 3.5L V6 that delivers 306 hp and 277 ft-lb or torque. Both of the all-aluminum 4-cam engines feature dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to help boost economy and efficiency. The rear-wheel-drive IS250 delivers 23 mpg combined and will sprint to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, while its IS350 brother is good for 21 combined mpg and an impressive 5.6 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. A 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is standard on the IS250 and the IS350 AWD, while the RWD IS350 utilizes an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with paddle shifters. Both transmissions feature Sport, Normal and Eco modes, and will match engine revolutions during downshifts when set in Sport mode.
The IS F comes with a big 5.0L aluminum V8 and the 8-speed Direct Shift automatic to make an impressive 416 horsepower and 371 lb-feet of torque.
Suspension across the lineup is fully independent, courtesy of double wishbones up front and a multilink setup in the rear. The IS250 and IS350 AWD ride on 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, while the IS350 RWD and IS F get 18-inch alloys.
All IS sedans come nicely equipped with standard features like HID headlights, LED daytime lights, dual-zone climate control, a next-generation Remote Touch Interface and 4.2-inch color display, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power moonroof, HomeLink universal transceiver, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and satellite radio. In addition to this generous list of standards, the IS F also gets standard HID headlamps, LED fog lamps, a leather and aluminum steering wheel and a carbon fiber spoiler. Additionally, each IS benefits from 10 airbags.
Optional equipment on the IS 250 and 350 includes a navigation system, a backup monitor, power rear sunshade and intuitive park assist, which aids in parallel parking the IS. An F Sport Package adds performance and appearance parts such as high-friction brakes, 18-inch wheels, special instrumentation, F Sport heated front seats, unique suspension tuning and exterior body trim. The Premium Package includes heated and ventilated front seats, while the Luxury Package boasts a blind spot monitor, special leather and wood trim, headlamp washers, a heated steering wheel, parking assist and more.
The IS F offers an optional navigation system, a Mark Levinson audiophile sound system, the backup monitor as well as a pre-collision system that also comes with adaptive cruise control.
Largely unchanged since its 2008 debut, the IS F is sort of the black sheep of Lexus' lineup. With its big, inefficient V-8 and boisterous character, it's the most un-Lexus model the automaker builds. So, I was equal parts surprised and pleased to see that the automaker was still producing it this late into the generation transition.
You see, the IS F sedan and the IS C convertible are the last of the second-generation IS models, the sedans that make up the bulk of sales have already moved on to the third-generation's awkwardly styled sheet metal. But this will be the last year that Lexus builds this beastly brute. So, as the 2014 IS F sedan left the Car Tech garage this week, I was bidding farewell to the Mighty F in more ways than one.
Old tech, but not outdated
I won't spend a lot of time nitpicking the Lexus tech, because a) the tech is pretty old -- I half expected to see a cassette slot below the IS F's CD player -- and b) you no doubt want me to skip ahead to the matter of the V-8 audio system beneath the hood. Still, despite being dated, I was surprised by how serviceable, simple, and user-friendly I found the IS F's tech package, though I still wouldn't call it a "great" tech package.
The Good The 2014 Lexus IS F's V-8 is a total hoot and pairs nicely with the eight-speed, close ratio automatic transmission. The dated tech holds up surprisingly well to modern standards.
The Bad Despite its advanced transmission, the engine is pretty old tech. Fuel economy will dip into the single digits, if you're not careful.
The Bottom Line The terrifically impractical 2014 Lexus IS F is the most un-Lexus model in the lineup, but it's an absolute thriller.
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